Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ben Baptizes 7 Members and Attempts 3rd World Plumbing

September 10, 2012

Hey fam, 

So every thing is going well here. I am having a great time with Elder Gonzalez.  I havent learned much Spanish yet but I have read a bit and it's not very different.  

I sent some pics.  One is of the baptism of Magno, Marilene, and Kezia [see pictures at right].  The next is me and Elder Oliveira at the Mission President's apartment on the 19th story of an apartment sky scraper (the apartment is very nice).  The apartment overlooks Belém. We were there for a training meeting discussing our new callings as mission trainers.  The last is of me, Ulysses 18, Jean Tavares (my mini missionary from a week ago), and André 17, and Andrey 13 (brothers), and Elder Gonzalez at there baptism.  It was pretty funny but Jean was going to baptize them and he didn't bring a white shirt, so me and Elder G. ran back to our house to pick one up for him to use.  It turned out good, but I was super sweaty when I got done.  The two brothers that were baptized are our neighbors and they are really cool.  Their dad even came with them to church Sunday, which was nice.  

This week i have been bitten a lot by mosquitoes.  I think it's because Elder G. has new blood, because before it was not bad at all.  But now, the day he got here it started to get bad.  Interesting how that is.

I have been thinking a lot about reverence lately.  I feel like the Sacrament  Meeting in our ward is super rowdy, and some of our investigators seem like they weren't feeling the Spirit during the sacrament meeting.  I have had a few bad experiences with this ward, and what I think is irreverence.  I think that me and Elder G. will work something out to help the ward really understand what is going on during the Sacrament Meeting, and what importance the sacrament should have in our lives.  It's a bit tough to bring investigators to church to see bad examples of members.   But fortunately we have the best ward mission leader here in Laranjeiras (Irmão Ciçero).  He is always there to help us and he is super involved.  In fact, he just got back from the temple (his first time) about a month ago.  So, things are looking up.   I have a goal to help this area grow so that I can convince President Scisci to send 3 missionaries to replace me when I get transfered in 3 months.

Oh, I got my package --  the one-year-in-the-mish package!  Thanks for the information about harmonicas and the mints.  

Oh, we have a family that we are teaching -- Camila and Nilson -- that will get married this week and baptized on Saturday along with (depending how this week goes, 2 other couples).  And we taught a lesson de poder the other day with a member who made a contact on the bus!  That was sweet, and the couple promised to come to church this next Sunday.

I love you guys and your letters.  Keep sending them!!!

Love, Ben

September 17, 2012

Hey fam, thanks for all emails.

This week has been really interesting.  For a start, I sent a pic from the weddig of Magno and Marilene and another pic of the baptisms this last weekend [we didn't actually get these].  Two families, two men, a total of five.  We baptized Claudio, Helena, Vitoria (their daughter), Camila, and Edenilson.  I will send a letter this next week to fill you all in a bit better about these milagres!!  

So these next few weeks will be interesting because we don't have anyone that is 100% ready for baptism but we are praying.  In fact, I think that I am being tested a lot right now.  There are a lot of problems, a ton of things I'm trying to remember, and thankfully, a lot of blessings.  I think it would be good to start with the trials.  

So, I have not been able to plan my time well enough for over a month, so I have been getting to bed late and I'm really starting to feel it.  I'm super tired, and I think it's affecting my work.  I try to help my district, but I feel like I'm not doing it right.  And, things just have been stressful lately.  Yesterday the PVC pipe that goes to our well broke while we were trying to prime our pump.  So we were left without water.  So I haven't been able to shower since yesterday morning.  I fixed the pipe today (I designed a new better system to prime the pump).  I should get reimbursed, but it looks like I lost the receipt so I'm out $ 25.96.  That's a bummer and unfortunately there is a leak in one of the connections I made.  
When the water tank was filling, it fell. Our water tank is 500 liters and sits on some wood slats at the back wall of our patio out back.  The water tank is a bit old and was poorly placed, it sagged because of age and the weight of the water until it finally fell this afternoon when I was washing clothes (by hand).  Yeah, so all of the PVC water pipes broke and we are now using a jimmied system to use the pump to fill the broken water tank on the ground.  (I still haven't taken a shower.)  So that's my story.  Oh, and when I called the land lord, they hung up on me twice (because I said I was a missionary).  I got my neighbor to call them and that worked.  Unfortunately, they were not very helpful.

I am planning a lot of trainings of the members here about how they can help the ward grow and how they can help us doing missionary work.  They are a bit behind the game here.  We have 8 recent converts that have been waiting for a few weeks to be interviewed to receive the priesthood.  

I'm really tired but I'm really glad I'm here.  

Elder  Clark

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